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Dear white brothers and sisters in the faith. Yet another video of a black unarmed man being killed by white men without cause has surfaced. Your black and brown skinned members of the Body are mourning publicly and privately. What are you going to do about it? Perhaps I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t do, please don’t be silent. I personally would like to see you say the wrong thing than remain silent. Maybe you feel like there is more to the story, but let me assure you, that Bible you love to quote let’s us know there is nothing new under the sun. To those of us living in America, this is an old song that continues to be sung.
The Bible tells us to, “Mourn with those who mourn,” and I wonder if anyone is really doing that? Or do you find yourself saying, “there must be more to the story, let’s wait until the facts come out?” My friend, I assure you, the facts did come out, because this is America and this is what we do. America is good at killing her citizens or imprisoning them.
Your brothers and sisters are hurting, as we are yet again reminded that our brown bodies are insignificant in light of white supremacy. And it is white supremacy, let’s call it for what it is. For those who don’t like the word “white” associated with such heinous acts, feel free to insert another term(Caucasian, Anglo Saxon, etc) but it’s still very much an issue. Black folks all across the country structure our lives around white supremacy, while many of our lighter skinned family members have the privilege to not think about it. As a black man in America, my wife doesn’t want me going out at night, I can never get mad and appear too angry, and I try to live my live in such a way that I do not appear to be a threat. This is my reality, and dare I say, the reality of black people that you know. Maybe you should ask them, those friends that you have that you claim are the reason that you can’t be racist.
My brothers and sisters, I plead with you not to quote the Bible at us, at least not in that way. What way? It seems like whenever a Christian of color speaks out about these issues we are beaten back with scriptures that have been taken out of context. The verse about “There is neither Jew nor Greek” is usually thrown around to shut us up and say we are all one in Christ. But if folks read a couple of verses after that, we as Believers are told to put on compassionate hearts and bear with one another. There’s all kinds of verses about bearing one another’s burdens, but those verses are conveniently skipped over. I beg of you, whatever scripture you want to use to silence us, please don’t do it, and question why you would want to use the Word of God as a beat stick instead of a healing salve.
What I do implore you to do, is to speak up and to speak out. Even if you get backlash for it, please stand in solidarity instead of on the sidelines shrouded in your silence. Whatever push back you get is minuscule when compared to what black people go through. And when I say “speak out,” I don’t mean a post here or there. We need you to speak as loudly as you do about the LGBTQ+ community, to weep for us as loudly as some do when animals are mistreated. Speak on these issues with the resolve and conviction as you do for the unborn and those in sex trafficking. I can’t speak to others’ experience, but generally when black and brown issues come up, a certain demographic gets very quiet. The same group advocating for gun rights gets really quiet when the guns and bullets they love, tear through black and brown bodies for all to see. There’s a saying in the Black community, “Keep that same energy,” and that is what I’m asking of our white brothers and sisters. Whenever we speak on our reality, please listen and believe us. Just as no one can talk you out of your experience with God, you cannot dismiss an entire people group’s collective experience. My mother used to say, “Everybody ain’t lying.” So you don’t believe the news, believe social media is overinflating the issues, but what about my experience? I live in Indiana, in my mind the Midwest is a knock off imitation of the South but still just as racist. The irony of living in what is deemed “The Bible Belt” but dealing with racism on a consistent basis makes me shake my head more than I care to admit. I’ve had the police called on my brother and myself because someone saw us moving a couch into my parents’ house. I’ve had the looks and stares, went shopping with white friends and have seen the looks and the body language, clearly communicating that I am not welcome there. My wife doesn’t want me out once the sun is down, there are certain places in Indiana that I have been warned not to go to. Imagine, before the pandemic, that people didn’t want to touch the money in your hand because they would have to make contact with your black skin. These are a just a few of my stories, but I feel confident that almost every other black person in this country has those same stories, or knows someone who does.